Which Is Better For Getting Into Upper Management, a Master’s in HR or an MBA in Human Resources?

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A Master’s degree can open all kinds of doors for those looking to expand their careers, regardless of the specialty they pursue. A Master’s degree is no guarantee of success, of course, but it can certainly help. In terms of advancement, again, a Master’s degree can be of great benefit. But if your goal is to reach management levels, where your ability to work in not only your specializes field, but also in the management of others is called for, an MBA degree is probably your strongest suit.

Benefits of Earning a Master’s Degree

The benefit of earning a Master’s degree has been known for years. After all, to make the commitment to earning a Master’s degree demonstrates your willingness to invest the time and effort to study your specialty subject at a higher level than what others may be willing to do. And obviously, making a contribution to the value of your time enables you to ask for greater responsibilities that draw more rewards, financial and otherwise.

Expanding Your Management Horizons

In terms of expanding your horizons to management, however, it may be the MBA degree that provides the greatest promise. The reasoning behind this is simple and easy to understand. A Master’s degree is intended to explore a specialty area at a level greater than that of a Bachelor’s degree, which is intended to give those who earn the degree a general body of knowledge as well as a special understanding of what it takes to succeed in a give subject.

A Master’s degree is designed to give those who earn their education a more specific body of knowledge in their areas of expertise. For example, whereas a Bachelor’s degree in HR might provide a general survey of the field, a Master’s degree would provide a more specialized knowledge of the field.

Intentions of a MBA Degree

An MBA degree is intended to give its recipients that more specialized knowledge of their specialized field in addition to a greater level of understanding from the management of that area. It is for that reason that those who earn an MBA degree will end up with a greater knowledge of their subject matter in addition to a survey of management level skills. These might include coursework in accounting, marketing, management and others.

The question naturally arises, “Why should I learn about those subjects when my area is HR?” The answer is simple. That answer is to give you a broader perspective of how the HR function fits into the more general areas of operating a business or other organization, specifically, management.

Reaching the Higher Level of Management

Nearly all of the jobs in a given field of specialization have a higher level of worker who is responsible for supervising other specialists in that field. These are managers, who are often responsible for helping to recruit, train, and motivate other specialists in that field. In order to perform this function managers must possess the ability to not only know their subject thoroughly, but also be able to step back from that specialty to an understanding of how it fits in the more general framework of an organization’s mission.

All of this is not to detract from the value of a Master’s degree in HR, but for those who aspire to the higher levels of management, the MBA is the ticket.